Worth Every Mile is the perfect project title for the Cumberland Quartet. It's been a journey through thick and thin and still when asked they will tell you it's been "worth every mile". Around 1980, Opryland Theme Park decided there was a need for a southern gospel quartet performance offered to the park guests. Depp Britt was actively involved in Opryland already and was chosen to fill the tenor position. They were named The Cumberland Boys. Porter Wagnor produced the boys' first project and they saw numerous successes come about. At the height of all that success, Opryland closed its doors and the boys were left without a place to sing.
Most of the boys went on to pursue other interests, but Depp went on a search for just the right singers. "I decided I needed to let God handle this situation, I knew I couldn't do it by myself. When I let God have control, He sent me who I needed," states Depp. The group consisted of Depp Britt (tenor), Michael Kevin Chambliss (lead), Kevin McCaw (baritone), and Michael Means (bass). With the new singers, Depp decided it was time for a name change. The Cumberland Boys became The Cumberland Quartet.
Within 2 months of Opryland closing its doors, Silver Dollar City called Depp with an offer he and the boys just couldn't refuse. Now, this quartet calls Silver Dollar City their "home". "We feel centered here," says Depp, "we get good rest, we go home at night to our families; we definitely have the perfect job." The Cumberland Quartet performs at SDC everyday the park is open May through December. January is their off month and they travel across the country in February, March, and April. During the month of September, Gary McSpadden hosts "Southern Gospel Nights" featuring many top southern gospel groups, such as: The Martins, Chosen Few, Gold City, Lesters, Southern Brothers, Hoskins Family, Melody Boys, Hoppers, Jeff and Sheri Easter, and many more.
In January of 2002, Michael Means chose to leave the group to pursue other interests. Ian Owens was chosen to replace him. "It's all kind of funny how God worked it out." states Depp. "Ian auditioned for the group 3 years ago, but we chose Michael. Ian was just three years ahead of God's perfect timing. He is a unique person with a gentle spirit and a heart for ministry, not to mention his beautiful God given talent to sing bass." The current Cumberland Quartet now consists of Depp Britt, Michael Kevin Chambliss, Kevin McCaw, and Ian Owens.
Worth Every Mile is the title of their most recent project. Wayne Haun produced it and Depp wrote several songs, such as "One More Chance to Testify", "My Treasure My Crown", and "Your Love Alone". Depp states, "My favorite songs on the album have to be 'My Treasure My Crown', which I wrote for Michael Kevin to sing. We will have nothing to give our Lord for all that He has done for us, but the treasure and crown He gives us when we see him. I just knew this would be the perfect song for Michael Kevin to sing. Secondly, I would have to choose 'Your Love Alone' which is a little on the inspiration side, but when I'm tired and worn out, it centers me." The Cumberland Quartets current single, "Stranger Things Have Happened" has been sweeping the airwaves, not to mention one of the most talked about singles this group has put out in a long time.
What can fans expect from this quartet in the future? "Good music,' states Depp. "Our priorities are to lift up the Lord, meet needs with passion, and to make the best music possible to build a better fan base." Though this group doesn't travel from church to church 10 months out of the year, they do sing to millions of people a year who may never even walk into a church building. Beautiful blend of voices, ministry focused, but entertaining also; these boys truly show signs of a successful quartet.